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Dying of Consumption: Accidents or Sacrifices of Global Morality?


  • Peter Dauvergne


Private consumption expenditures are now more than 4 times higher than in 1960. The globalization of ever-more growth and consumption has come, however, at a price: global chains of cause-and-effect that obscure social, environmental and ethical responsibility. The result in practice is a global order that accepts the deaths of millions of young people in dangerous and unhealthy environments as tragic, but largely unavoidable, accidents of economic progress. The history of what most call traffic "accidents" is revealing. The hope at the 1896 inquest into the first "accidental death" was this would never happen again. But hope is not action. Today, traffic injures as many as 50 million and kills over one million people ever year. It is, however, no accident that tragedies like these are "accidents" rather than "sacrifices," as such language softens criticism of the moral, social and ecological crises arising from the current global consumptive order. Copyright (c) 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Dauvergne, 2005. "Dying of Consumption: Accidents or Sacrifices of Global Morality?," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 5(3), pages 35-47, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:glenvp:v:5:y:2005:i:3:p:35-47

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    Cited by:

    1. Meidad Kissinger & William Rees, 2010. "Exporting natural capital: the foreign eco-footprint on Costa Rica and implications for sustainability," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 547-560, August.
    2. Kissinger, Meidad & Rees, William E., 2009. "Footprints on the prairies: Degradation and sustainability of Canadian agricultural land in a globalizing world," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2309-2315, June.
    3. Susanne Menzel & Tom L. Green, 2013. "Sovereign Citizens and Constrained Consumers: Why Sustainability Requires Limits on Choice," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(1), pages 59-79, February.

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